Blog

When a Pastor Dies – What Should I do?

Posted by on Aug 10, 2016 in R U Intentional | 0 comments

Have you ever noticed the support of the law enforcement community at the death of an officer?  There is an extensive protocol intended to provide comfort, make a statement that this life was well lived and to give direction to everyone involved.  In short many police departments join together to assist and obtain the resources needed to ensure the appropriate funeral is conducted. The purpose of this article is to draw attention to the support offered by police officer associations that often didn’t even know the police officer and the support that is not often offered the families of a faithful pastor.  The police officer gives his life to serve the community, a pastor will sacrifice his life to save souls and equip believers. I ask the question: Should we not honor the memory of a pastor and support his family any less than a police officer? During the past few months I have participated in funeral services of two pastors and a pastor’s wife. All three were African-American ministers.  The one thing I immediately noticed was the unwavering support of fellow African-American pastors regardless of affiliation and the protocol that focused on the ministry of the person who died whereby God got the glory. All three of these services were serious but were they ever celebrative!  I was also impressed by the fact that the church building was packed with pastors and ministers even though the services were conducted at not so convenient times.  It was evident that those pastors and ministers cleared their schedule to participate or attend the service.  Do these pastors recognize something most of us miss?  Do they see the value of offering support so God can accomplish His purpose?  Do they recognize what God can do when they give of themselves to be an encouragement to the family and community?  It would seem so.   The purpose of a Christian funeral service is four-fold: It is intended to celebrate what God has accomplished in a person’s life – whereby God gets the glory. It gives great opportunity for the witness of the Gospel and reminds us of the hope within us. It acknowledges the close of a person’s life and ministry/service to the LORD. It begins to release us to go on with life, to complete what the LORD has begun in the person who is now with our LORD.   It brings closure for those who loved the person. It permits tears and expressions of joy and love that words cannot describe.   In summary, of all the important things we are called to do in the ministry I call on you to rearrange your schedule to honor God’s fellow pastor and ministers who have given their life to proclaim the Gospel of our LORD Jesus Christ and equip the saints. It appears to me it is the least we can do.    ...

read more

So, You want to Reach People for Christ, Really?

Posted by on Jul 30, 2016 in Featured | 0 comments

Pastors and their churches who really want to reach people for the Messiah are passionate about their personal mission and core values therefore: They live their mission and values – do you? Will pay the price to proclaim the Gospel – will you? They are able to articulate their passion in a few short sentences – Can you? Observations on Reaching People for the Messiah                   Do you know where to go to reach the interested?                   When we talk to a person on the street or in the home or wherever, do you know what to say to create within that person the desire to want to know more?  ? In the media one liner messaging grabs attention and creates within the prospect the desire to know more.  How many one liner statements or questions do you know that stimulates interest in hearing the Gospel?   Do you know how to hyper-target, that is do you know how to contact the interested with concise information that will cause them to want to know more? A key to reaching people is to recognize that we operate at the speed of life; can you adapt to meet the needs of your community when sudden change occurs or disaster strikes?   Most non-relational marketing is being done digitally, what are you doing to attract those who live online to the message of the Gospel?   Of all the people in the world and your community which ones should you seek to reach first? Have you studied enough to know how to target them? Can you speak their language and know how they live? Can you live among them to reach them?   Do you understand the needs of those you are seeking to reach, when was the last time you did a demographic study and took the time to comprehend what it was telling you? Want to get the word out about what God is doing through your church?  Get to know those who do the marketing in the community, the chit-chatters, the media marketers, the admissions director of the vocational and traditional colleges,and adapt the tools they use to promote the cause of Christ and your church’s ministries.   The testimony is still the most powerful tool you have….what will a committed member say about their relationship to Christ and your church?  Have you ever had a testimony night at your church in which your members invited guests to hear why they are followers of Christ?   Your first line of reaching people for our LORD: Work with and equip those who are your cutting edge people, the real committed.  Do you know who they are and have you discipled them? Love the rest an pray that they will grow into committed followers...

read more

The Parable of the Selfish Pastor

Posted by on May 2, 2016 in Featured | 0 comments

Once there was a man who had two sons. The first son was handsome and famous, self-centered and thousands upon thousands flocked to see him perform his art. The second son wasn’t anything to look at and only the faithful knew about his work. He labored hard and gave everything he earned to save people. The First son died.  The pastor of the big church was only acquainted with this son but because the father asked him to officiate at the funeral service he said to himself, “Self, I must officiate at his funeral; it will be one of those long services. However, I will be seen and so he rearranged his schedule to go officiate at the famous son’s funeral. The pastor thought, “Perhaps the church is in his will, beside it will only be a few long hours of my day. I can put up with it. The father was grieved because the son gave no evidence of being a follower of Christ. Later it was announced the son gave nearly all his wealth to his dog. Not many months later the second son died, too.  When his father visited in his son’s apartment he found no food in his home, one suit from the Salvation Army, many prayer lists, and long lists with people he had a heart to share the Gospel with and help.  His Bishop was called to officiate at his funeral but he did not have time, he had a golf tournament to attend with the local community leaders. So, the father called the pastor.  The pastor of the big church was much better acquainted with this young pastor and thought to talk to him about his ministry but every time he scheduled an appointment the son was sick and could not meet with him because he was helping lost and needy people. The pastor thought to himself, ‘Self, I don’t have time for this funeral service besides I barely know this son and his kind of funeral lasts too long. I have other things to do and so he made an excuse to get out of attending the service. And I say to you, the faithful will see the blessing of the LORD but as for the Bishop and pastor of the big church, what blessings have...

read more

How to Keep our Youth in Church

Posted by on Nov 1, 2015 in R U Intentional | 0 comments

We have long known that we lose many of our youth to other interests to satisfy their spiritual needs and this is borne out by David Kinnaman in his research, “You Lost Me…” What you might not know is that more youth leave the church during their middle and high school years than will leave during their college years. Over 60 percent of young adults who attended church in their teens will ultimately become spiritually disconnected at some point during their twenties (The Barna Group). Is there a solution to this problem?  Yes, I believe it reflects the need to effectively lay a good foundation that requires a comprehensive response to Peter’s statement: … “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,…” (1 Peter 3:15).  We are often weak in equipping our youth and new followers in what it means to follow Christ in the first place and like a baby who needs our constant attention we must understand that growth and maturity takes time.  Growth rests in the assurance of a person’s foundational conviction regarding the cross – the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and the clear implications of what He taught.   You might be wasting your time if you bypass helping a young person establish the hope that is within them.  My suggestion is make sure you are filled with the conviction that Jesus is our LORD and Christ and teach it with passion.  Don’t wait until a child is in middle school to teach them this same conviction if you have them in your children’s ministry.  Conviction compels.  Do a quick survey of your youth to determine the state of their passion for Christ and focus on that all-compelling truth before you do anything, and that is anything else. Without a changed heart of conviction there will be no changed life and no youth in your ministry. And almost an afterthought on the above – While in seminary, our President took a more obedience centered focus on learning rather than an option approach to learning, his supposition was – foundations are not an option.  Therefore without regard to ‘belly-aching’ his comments were, “I do not accept complaining or argument when it comes to understanding the Word of God.  There are some trues that are non-neogotiable, learn the material.  He went on to assign entire chapters in the Scriptures that were to be memorized.  Was it a daunting challege, oh yes it was.  I tell you to this day, am I ever thankful for the discipline put before me.  I rest heavily in those foundational trues I learned in those days. They have brought me back from failure, no great failure, and helped me be an effective minister of the gospel.  I look back to my youth and one of the greatest blessings of my life was the required drilling of the truth in my head, which was the required memorization of the Scriptures and their meaning in helping someone receive Christ as LORD and Savior. “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11 Therefore be intentional!...

read more

The Parable of the Preacher

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Featured | 0 comments

Written by Don Parker Once there was a certain preacher.  On a Sunday his heart was full and he desperately sought to honor God through his sermon.  He was overcome with passion for God’s love and truth to be lived.  His voiced raised, his countence changed, he was not himself.  One woman thought, why does he have to yell?  I don’t like yelling!  Another thought whose he mad at?  I don’t like the way he directly points out the sins of the people.  Another, cracked with a smirk on her face, what did he drink, two red bulls?  The preacher got louder, he moved about the platform, his face was filled with fire…A self-righteous old ‘bitty’ said, ” I will talk to my husband about him, he must be mad. Something is bothering him, he needs help.  But the preacher standing afar off on the platform had a broken heart, a heart who cried out that he would honor God having been cleansed by God’s grace, mercy and love.  His message was deeply rooted in God’s Word.  Many in the crowd that day resented his message.  Who did he think he was!? I tell you the truth, ‘those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves with be...

read more

A Call to Selfless Prayer

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in R U Intentional | 0 comments

By Jerry McCullah –   “ And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”     (Ezekiel 22:30) “ . . . My house shall be called the house of prayer . . .”  (Matthew 21:13) The only hope for families, for our communities, for this nation, for this world . . . is for God’s people, His Church, to go to their knees in selfless, God honoring, Kingdom building, extended periods of prayer.   Pastors, we can no longer assume our people are praying. We must teach them; encourage them; lead them; give opportunities and guidance to get into the battle.  It could only take 24 hours for us to awaken to the reality that God’s Church will be no longer tolerated in this nation.  Are your people ready for this possibility?  What would they do? God has called me to encourage Christians into a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ; one that is real and personal, which comes through a life of prayer.  The world needs praying people! God seeks praying people! As CSBC Prayer Consultant, I am available to assist your churches in the training and development of a personal prayer life, and church prayer renewal, through seminars, prayer retreats, concerts of prayer, and prayer revivals. My passion is to excite Christians to the possibilities prayer opens up before them. With God all things are possible!  Would you give me the honor to work with you to the fulfillment of these words:  “Thy Kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven . . . deliver us from the evil one.”   (Matthew 6:10,13)?        Let’s schedule something for your precious people! Jerry...

read more

God’s Nobody calling Us to Revival

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in R U Intentional | 0 comments

by Jerry McCullah Around the time of the American Revolution, the nation as a whole was in serious moral decline.  And the problem was also seen in the churches.  The Methodists were the largest denomination, and they were losing more than they were gaining in membership.   Second were the Baptists, and they said “they were having their most wintry season.”   The Congregationalists had not brought in one young person in sixteen years. John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the United States, wrote to the Bishop of Virginia, Bishop Madison, that “the Church is too far gone ever to be redeemed.”   Voltaire said, “Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years time.” Kenneth Scott Latourette, church historian said, “It seemed as if Christianity were about to be ushered out of the affairs of men.”  It appeared that churches were about to die out.  How did God change that situation?  It came through the concert of prayer. Just prior, there was a Scottish Presbyterian minister in Edinburgh called John Erskine, who wrote a booklet titled: “Pleading with the People of Scotland and Elsewhere to Unite in Prayer for a Revival of Religion.” He sent a copy to Jonathan Edwards in New England. He was so moved, he wrote a response.  I believe the title was: “A Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of All God’s People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.” The year after John Wesley died, the Second Great Awakening began and swept Great Britain. But, in New England, there was a man of prayer named Isaac Backus, a Baptist pastor.  In 1794, he sent out a plea for prayer to ministers of every Christian denomination in the United States. They knew this to be their only hope. The Presbyterians, the Methodists, the Baptist Associations, the Congregationalists, the Reformed, and the Moravians all adopted it until America was saturated with a network of prayer meetings, using the first Monday of each month to pray.  It was not long before revival came! Beloved, I am a nobody who is God’s somebody begging the Church to seriously commit to faithful, believing, repentant prayer for the revival of the church, and the awakening of America!   Won’t you join me? Jerry McCullah CSBC Prayer...

read more

Keeping Your Church Healthy

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in R U Intentional, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Keeping Your Church Healthy – Starts with You 1.  Dream:  Write your dreams down on paper whereby God gets the glory given what He has commanded. 2.  Create a written list of  people you want to see led to Christ and discipled.  A list helps you see the possibilities.  Add to your list daily. 3.  Contact people:  Don’t think when, but how am I going to contact the person.  Be accountable to your church and your mentor in this area. 4.  Share the plan of salvation and once you have led a person to Christ teach him or her what you have been taught, don’t wait to start the process.  Set a goal:  12 people per year working with you to do what you are doing given their gifts and talents. 5.  Follow up with those you disciple and never deviate from your godly dream to see people won to Christ and developed into well-informed responsible followers of Christ. 6. Be Committed  to the basic vital signs of  a true-follower and healthy church builder.    7.  Review your progress. Review your healthy church vital signs and personal vitals signs for  a strong fellowship with the LORD and His church. Develop a relationship with your mentor for counseling and encouragement, someone who has a vested interest in you,  a person who has been there and is proven. Stay focused.   Want more information on keeping your church healthy?  Did the above move you to say ‘ya but,’ or want additional clarification?  Feel free to call or email me: Don Parker – dparker@hdba.net  or 760.490.3444 for more information or...

read more

Deadly Secrets

Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in R U Intentional | 0 comments

by Dr. Jack Bracy You are only as weak as your secrets.  I was in my office and the phone rings and the voice on the other end of the line asks, “Jack, can you help me, I am afraid my wife is going to leave me.” As the story unfolds, an all too typical series of events are revealed: “I have had this addiction to…” or “my wife found out about my relationship with…” Change the words or the events around and we see an individual who has been carrying a dark secret. What started as an attempt to self-medicate a growing depression or the anxiety of ministry snowballed into an unmanageable disaster waiting to happen. We have fooled ourselves thinking we have it under control, but our out of control behavior is controlling us. The sad thing is that this didn’t have to happen. Everyone has a past and everyone has a failing. We are all, sinners. The real problem is not that we have a behavior that threatens our marriages, families and ministries, but that we are keeping this problem to ourselves. There is a reason that the Bible says that we are to “confess our sins to one another.” We all have problems in need of redemption. Here’s the thing, help is available. Fifteen years ago when it hit me, I like you told myself I could handle it and I couldn’t. I didn’t know who to trust with my secrets – I felt Isolated and alone. It wasn’t until I put away my pride and called a Christian Counselor that I found a way to overcome the problems that were behind my secret behavior. Your secrets don’t have to win. Help is available. Reach out now.   Dr. Bracy is the Pastor of New Hope Community Church and has a PhD in Marriage Family Therapy. He provides no cost Christian Counseling for individuals, couples and families. He can be contacted @ 760-954-3794 or drjbracy@me.com...

read more

How to Keep our Youth in Church

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in R U Intentional | 0 comments

How to Keep our Youth in Church

How to Keep our Youth in Church We have long known that we lose many of our youth to other interests to satisfy their spiritual needs and this is borne out by David Kinnaman in his research, “You Lost Me…” What you might not know is that more youth leave the church during their middle and high school years than will leave during their college years. Over 60 percent of young adults who attended church in their teens will ultimately become spiritually disconnected at some point during their twenties (The Barna Group). Is there a solution to this problem?  Yes, I believe it reflects the need to effectively lay a good foundation that requires a comprehensive response to Peter’s statement: … “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,…” (1 Peter 3:15).  We are often weak in equipping our youth and new followers in what it means to follow Christ in the first place and like a baby who needs our constant attention we must understand that growth and maturity takes time.  Growth rests in the assurance of a person’s foundational conviction regarding the cross – the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and the clear implications of what He taught.   You might be wasting your time if you bypass helping a young person establish the hope that is within them.  My suggestion is make sure you are filled with the conviction that Jesus is our LORD and Christ and teach it with passion.  Don’t wait until a child is in middle school to teach them this same conviction if you have them in your children’s ministry.  Conviction compels.  Do a quick survey of your youth to determine the state of their passion for Christ and focus on that all-compelling truth before you do anything, and that is anything else. Without a changed heart of conviction there will be no changed life and no youth in your ministry. And almost an afterthought on the above – While in seminary, our President took a more obedience centered focus on learning rather than an option approach to learning, his supposition was – foundations are not an option.  Therefore without regard to ‘belly-aching’ his comments were, “I do not accept complaining or argument when it comes to understanding the Word of God.  There are some trues that are non-neogotiable, learn the material.  He went on to assign entire chapters in the Scriptures that were to be memorized.  Was it a daunting challege, oh yes it was.  I tell you to this day, am I ever thankful for the discipline put before me.  I rest heavily in those foundational trues I learned in those days. They have brought me back from failure, no great failure, and helped me be an effective minister of the gospel.  I look back to my youth and one of the greatest blessings of my life was the required drilling of the truth in my head, which was the required memorization of the Scriptures and their meaning in helping someone receive Christ as LORD and Savior. “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin...

read more